midweek sweets (honeyhoneyhoney)

With the bounty from the latest picking adventure we made 10 jars of blueberry jam.  I am now calling it officially done on the jam making this year, as we have 32 jars in the pantry, even after gifting some and liberally devouring many jars ourselves over the last few months.  Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry.  All the good ol' standbys.  Maybe next year I'll get adventurous and try something new like a blend, or a marmalade.  Or the pear preserves my great aunt used to make that I'd eat straight from the jar when no one was looking...

But.  What I'm really (really, really) excited about is a different kind of sweetness altogether.

Yes!  After three years of beekeeping that have been filled with plenty of trial and error and loss and success, we have finally harvested out first batch of honey.  It is a modest honey harvest, I am sure.  We ended up taking just 7 frames total, cautiously aware of the risk of not leaving enough for those hardworking ladies (and their offspring) to make it through the colder months ahead.  But still- at about 1 and 3/4 gallons, I am satisfied.  Thrilled, even.  And maybe it won't last us a whole year, but fingers crossed next year will bring even more.  If they make it through the winter alright, if they enter the new season strong, if we don't split either hive next year and just leave them to rock it out all spring and summer.......

So many ifs.  And the number one thing I've learned these three years is that truly, you just never do know with bees.  Just like that wise old Pooh Bear says.

But for now, the satisfaction in eating this particular sweet liquid gold?  That's gonna have me smiling for a good many months, at least.

a medium sized frame nearly full of capped honey

We took this one, though not completely full, because we wanted to remove that wonky cross-comb on the left.  Mike is using a feather to sweep the bees away before placing the frame in a box to take it inside.  We each worked one hive. I came away with a big fat sting on my left thigh from a bee that fly up my pants- ouch!  (that second hive was quite a bit more agitated than the first)

six of the seven frames that we pulled honey from

using the knife to remove the cappings 

Ready to load into the extractor!  Here you can see the fine wires running from the top of the frame to the bottom (they are horizontal in the picture) that are used to hold the pre-formed wax sheets in place to give the bees a starting point when building comb.  Most of our frames do not have these, as we prefer to let the bees build their comb the way they want to, with different sized cells to suit their needs in different parts if the hive and within each frame.  

spin spin spin!

the first sweet drips



enjoying......  Claire claimed a spot right next to the pan that the cappings were cut into- loads of honey dripped down to the bottom and she quickly got the hang of dipping apple slices into the gooey goodness

using a paint straining bag to strain the honey into a bucket with a spigot

getting every last drop out of those precious cappings

our first honey harvest~ in all of it's golden, humble glory!


  1. congratulations! What a long time to wait for honey but the wait was worth it.

    1. thanks Karen~ it was long but yes, definitely worth it!

  2. Congratulations! That looks absolutely awesome - I bet it's deelish :)

    Happy weekend :)

    1. thank you Renee! it was fun and yes, your bet is a safe one for sure~

  3. wow wow wow wow wow wow wow.
    I am so happy for you and the photos are gorgeous!
    So...I DID just talk to brad about it again and you know what? he is still worried about them swarming so I think I need to find a place- other than our place- to put the hive.
    I'm not totally giving up on doing it here, but I need to convince him. Have you had them swarm in those three years?

    1. thanks, Cory! no, no problems with swarming whatsoever. what is his worry with swarming? Typically, they won't swarm unless they are getting too crowded in the hive, but that is remedied (and prevented) by making sure they have plenty of space in there, plenty of room for brood and honey storage, which is easy to check for. And, interestingly, they are usually at their most docile when swarming (and not the other way around) because they are basically cluelessly hanging on to a branch/telephone pole/etc in a big clump waiting until scout bees find them a suitable new home. no honey stores to protect and get ornery about. just a clump of bees around their queen, waiting to find a good home. no reason you couldn't keep them at someone else's place where there was more room though.

  4. Amanda, Can you recommend a good book our resource for starting?

    1. hey Nicole! yes- we like this guy's site and his book:

      you should come out sometime and we can show you around the hives!


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~